Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site Management Plan (14 of 20)

IV.3 - Recommended Scenario - The Research Option

After extensive discussion of the scenarios, the choice has been made to pursue the research option. This means a commitment to a primary research identity for the Farm for the foreseeable future.

This decision does not mean a simple extension of the status quo. It means reversing a long-standing tendency to reduce research activity on the Farm and to delay upgrades of equipment and facilities, that provided mixed signals to the public about the long-term future of the Farm. It means reestablishing the primacy of research.

This decision provides the framework for a strong management plan. The research identity becomes the primary identity for the site. Circulation patterns, landscape development, architectural development, signage, visitor services, interpretation and presentation - all are designed to reinforce the central identity. The public is to become once again aware of the research function as the raison d'être for the site.

This does not mean that other activities - museum activities, public park activities, NRCan, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Parks Canada and NCC activities - will not continue. But they will take place within the context of a research identity that encompasses all these other activities. Planning decisions by the various levels of government - federal, provincial, local - will be reviewed and recommended in relation to the primacy of the research agenda.

In relation to the Museum-without-Walls identity, there will still be presentation and interpretation of the site and of agriculture in Canada. But rather than seeing this as a primary or independent activity, it will be folded into the research agenda and policy directives of the Department.

There will be renewed emphasis on national collections, both static and dynamic. In relation to the park identity, there will still be active and passive recreational activities, and other park functions. But the public will be on the site at the invitation of a research community, and will carry on their activities in the context of an active research agenda.

The choice of the research agenda sustains most strongly the central heritage identity of the site. It continues to be first and foremost a scientific landscape - a landscape that continues to evolve as the definitions of science, and of research, and of agriculture, evolve. But it does so in the context of an existing landscape of recognized value. The key issue in the management plan is to balance the attention to the dynamic and the static qualities of the resource. The dynamic quality is the research activity itself, the ongoing use of this landscape to promote agricultural research and disseminate information. The static quality is those architectural and landscape elements that carry within them the record of this landscape over time. Some of the static elements will need to evolve in order to sustain the dynamic elements, but this has to happen in a balanced, healthy way in order to keep alive the various overlapping values of the site.

Of all the planning scenarios, this is one that most clearly fits within the AAFC legislative and policy mandate. It clearly sustains the dynamic cultural quality of the place as a cultural landscape, and it provides a strong basis for the development of a management plan because the protection of the site's values become, to a large extend, a by-product of its core activities.